I hope my kids learn to cook. And love to it as much as I do.
I truly believe that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is an appreciation for food. And by food, I mean real food — food that doesn’t come out of a can or microwaveable container. This hope is not just for my children; I hope more and more kids everywhere grow up with a renewed understanding of where food comes from and a respect for the plants and animals they eat.
Instead of citing studies about the rise of childhood obesity and rambling on about why teaching our kids to cook will make the world a better place, I’ve written a hopeful little story (with respectful credit due to Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond, authors of many beloved children’s books, including, of course, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie). I hope you like it.
If you give a kid a spatula …
He’s going to want something to turn with it.
So you’ll slice a zucchini and show him how to watch it brown and cook in a little extra-virgin olive oil.
And once he tries the sautéed sliced zucchini, he’s going to want some cheese to sprinkle on top of it.
And once he tries several kinds of cheese, he’ll decide the freshest one tastes the best.
And he will start to think about cheese and ask you where it comes from.
And you will show him a picture of a cow on a farm.
Once he sees this picture, he will check Google for a local farm so he can visit the cow.
And he will learn that there are very different kinds of farms than the ones in his picture, and he will get sad.
He will come to you crying, and you will explain that there still are nice farms where cows are happy and eat grass.
And he will be happy and do a diorama for school about healthy, sustainable farming vs. industrial agriculture.
His friend from school will go home and ask her mom to please buy organic vegetables and milk.
So her mom will decide to join a local farm share.
Once her daughter starts eating more vegetables and less junk food, she will become a star student and athlete.
Because she is so active, the girl will have pastured eggs in her breakfasts, which she will learn to make for herself.
And chances are…
If she learns to make creamy and delicious omelets…
She’s gonna want a spatula to turn them with.
We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share their stories of Hope. Every day for the next month, you’ll find new tips for optimism on Gaiam Life, the Stream of Consciousness blog and our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And don’t miss the GaiamTV.com Hope Film Festival, with FREE films all month long.